Should you ever have concerns regarding your young person that are personal, family, social or school related, you may wish to make contact with one of us if you feel this could be helpful. We would need to be able to talk about how we then share our conversation with her. Perhaps you have an enquiry about which service to go to for particular help … we may be able to make a recommendation.
If a young person is unhappy, worried or in trouble a lot at school or home, or if she is feeling afraid, bullied or alone, she is less likely to learn or feel safe and secure. It is much better to address any issues early.
Life can be difficult at times for all of us. Young people have less experience than adults and many have yet to work out effective ways to manage their lives and relationships with themselves or others. This can mean they may not know how to share their troubles with a trusted adult and an issue or their life can begin to feel over whelming.
What helps us get through the more difficult times is care and effective support.
SIGNS OF CONCERN WE RECOMMEND YOU ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR AS PARENTS/CAREGIVERS: (from the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand)
- Being very sad a lot or emotional numbness
- Loss of pleasure in everyday activities
- Being irritable or anxious
- Feeling guilty or to blame or crying for no apparent reason
- A change in sleeping or eating habits
- Feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of death
As well as things like
- Changes in behaviour - perhaps very quiet or angry or aggressive
- With-drawing socially from family and/or friends
- Less interest in school work, complains about school, not wanting to go, truanting school
- Cannot make decisions, has difficulty remembering things
- Taking risks and seems to have given up caring
- Losing weight, looking very thin, appears uncomfortable around food or over exercising
- Sadness around a fall out with a significant relationship (girl or boy friend or family member)
SOME IDEAS WE OFFER FOR HOW YOU MIGHT HELP:
- Take time to talk with her and listen calmly and with empathy to what she has to say
- Encourage her to share her feelings with you – this helps her to make sense of what is happening, feel less alone and feel supported.
- Listen until she feels you understand what she is saying – young people love and need to be heard. (Catch yourself talking for them or rushing them as this will have them feel pressured or misunderstood and they may stop sharing. It can be a big step to share hard feelings). Ask supportive questions and leave plenty of space for them to think and find their words, as this will help them share more with you. The more you understand, the better support you can be and the more she can feel that you care.
- Together, come up with positive ways to manage her situation.
- Time with friends is a natural support link for young people. Boundaries are important to ensure she keeps herself safe
- Encourage her with ways to keep focused on her studies and healthy activities
- Talk concerns through with the appropriate person; perhaps her Dean, teacher or a professional, such as your GP or a school counselor.
Your enquiries with us will be treated professionally and confidentially.